For manure applicators, having robust and reliable equipment is key to getting a job done efficiently and effectively. No matter what type of equipment you’re working with, proper maintenance is needed to keep everything running smoothly. The same applies to one of the most critical liquid transfer components: drag and mainline hoses. Proper care for your lines will go a long way in saving you both time and money. We’ve assembled some tips that’ll help keep you and your hoses out in the fields instead of on the sidelines.
1. When Rolling Hoses, Never Roll Hose Tightly Over Couplings
This method normally causes more damage to hose than anything; it causes the couplings to imprint into the hose and will compromise the cords in the hose. This practice is an easy way to have trouble next time you use the line, or especially when it sets all offseason. A better practice is to roll it tightly, but when couplings come on to the reel, to back up and roll them on loosely. After about three rounds, then start filling in on each side of the coupling until the hose is as even as you get it before you start rolling over the coupling again. It’s more work, but it will save your manure application operation a lot of time.
2. Mark Your Hose
It’s good practice to mark your hose before you put it away for the season or in the summertime if you can lay it out and physically inspect your hose. We like to use a color scheme of spray paints on the hose, right near the coupling, to identify the hose condition. Blue is new and great shape. Green means good, but may have a nick or two.
Red signifies that it has a “Hard Mender” in it, meaning it has been compromised. Yellow conveys that it’s an old hose and needs to be put in a low-pressure, low-risk area. This makes it easy for the person laying out the hose to know what shape the hose is in as they set it out, especially if you have a higher risk area that you wouldn’t want to lay a yellow or red marked hose in. This system is a great visual aid to have on the job and in the field.
3. Mainline Pressure Ratings Are Important To Keep In Mind
For the most part, if you keep pressures at 200 psi or less, you will significantly minimize possible problems. As you increase pressures, you also increase risk. Usually, these risks are going to be with the couplings or with bend radiuses. Everyone has their way of operating their equipment; we want to point out the potential danger with increased pressure. If you are always running a high pressure, maybe look into using a bigger hose, this is the easiest and usually cheapest way to increase flow rates and lower pressure risks. The mainline should last you a long time if you take care of it.
4. Drag Hose
There are many different viewpoints on how to treat drag hose, so at Puck, we treat it as a consumable. Our mindset is that draglines are something we plan to replace at least every two to three seasons (a season being one fall or one spring). Productivity is what we are looking to maximize. Speed, flow, pressure, and the number of passes through the field are all subjective and need to be tailored to how you operate your business. For more information or questions, give us a call, we are happy to help walk through different scenarios.
5. Clean The Line or Blowing A Pig
This procedure is the most dangerous activity we do in our line of work. Pigging the line out with a foam bullet or sponge ball is a must to empty the line out so we can roll it up and move on to the next job. This is the last activity before we can move, so there is a lot going into the process of getting ready to go. Please take your time when air pressure is pushing the pig out. Keep as much distance as you can from hoses and couplings. The line turns into a huge container of stored energy until the pig is exhausted.
If the line is compromised before the pig comes out, you essentially have a bomb on your hands, and air pressure is lazy, so it can make the hose and couplings come up off the ground and swing around very violently. Do please stay back and be patient. If you are unsure of the line or if the pig doesn’t come out, don’t break couplings! There is too much air that is released to quickly from a coupling; you need to bleed the air off though a small ball valve or pig launcher ball valve. This is very time consuming, but the only safe way to exhaust the air so that you can then break couplings or shoot another pig.
We can’t stress exercising caution and patience enough, and if you are unsure of what to do, please call. We are here to help! When the pig does exit the hose, keep your distance until the hose goes completely flat, then step on the hose and make sure there is no pressure before disconnecting any couplings. Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings. It’s always better to ask if you are unsure of something.
By following these tips, you’ll be better protected in the field from potential drag and mainline hose issues. For more information on the innovative products made by Puck Enterprises, visit www.puck.com.